Three Considerations Before Launching Your Innovation Trends
Consumer trend reports are great resources for organizations to gain a pulse on what matters to consumers and can help build a winning business strategy. Brands that understand what is influencing consumers and what is motivating their decision-making are one step ahead in offering them exactly what they want, while those who follow a business-as-usual approach tend to lose ground.
At face value, a trends report can feel complex and ambiguous. The challenge is bringing these overarching learnings to life in ways that make sense for your customers. An important first step is to simply ground yourself in ways to think about trends. Before you get started on an initiative to operationalize trends, here are three fundamental areas to ensure the inputs drive innovation that will have the most impact.
Understanding the skillsets needed to take trends into action throughout an organization often gets pushed off and the focus is on the near term. There is a delicate balance between time and skillset. Does your organization have the skillset and framework to evaluate trends internally or would it be more efficient to outsource the work? Outsourcing comes with budget considerations, however, handling the task internally can be difficult if you don’t have the appropriate framework and skillsets.
The time horizon
Determining if the initiative is realistic to land in your organization also depends largely on the business planning cycle. How long will this take to accomplish, or how long will it take for stakeholders to feel a change or see ROI? Anything beyond three years can be hard to weave into an organization. Ensure that the time horizon is realistic and aligned to your business enough that key stakeholders are able to see the full vision and connect to the initiative.
Consider how much change your key stakeholders have the capacity to appreciate as you develop your work plan. Having a sense for what is to come is important but looking too far ahead might be challenging for stakeholders with an abundance of short-term decision needs. Take the time to connect with stakeholders to understand their perspectives and strike the right balance of what type of inspiration they need versus what is extraneous to ensure trends are relevant for the business and can influence innovation efforts.
Thinking about trends is just the first step
We can’t expect a focus on trends to tell us precisely what strategy to use moving forward. Nor should we lean on a trends article to determine the path for a company’s next innovation. Instead, adopt a framework that is flexible and think about trends as inspiration and a springboard to help imagine and navigate various possible futures. Reach beyond the usual industry trade magazine for greater perspectives that may impact consumers. And make it an integral part of the company culture that helps you understand and act on what matters to consumers to win in the marketplace.